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Van der Vaart fit for Nurnberg clash

Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will be fit to play against Nurnberg this weekend after recovering from a muscle pull.

Van der Vaart, 29, pulled a muscle during the club's winter training camp last week, however, he made a swift recovery, returning to team training on Tuesday.

"It worked out great. No pain and no problems," Van der Vaart told MOPO after the training session. "I am totally looking forward to the game in Nurnberg."

Hamburg will be looking to start the second half of the Bundesliga season with a win against Nurnberg when it restarts this week, having lost to their opponents earlier in the season.

"We have lost the first game against Nurnberg," Hamburg manager Thorsten Fink said. "And have to make up for that.

"If Rafa is fit, he will start. It looks like he is. He will be playing at the weekend - as of now."

With Hamburg playing their first Budesliga game since mid-December this weekend, Fink cannot wait for the league to get up and running again.

"If it was up to me, we could start now, the team seems to be in great shape," he said.

Elsewhere, Fink has praised new signing Kerem Demirbay, who was brought in from Borussia Dortmund earlier this week.

"He is a player like Nuri Sahin, despite his young age he takes on a lot responsibility in his team," Fink said. "Many clubs wanted him, Dortmund wanted to keep him. We are proud that we were able to convince him with our philosophy."

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